Snow dyeing “pashmina” shawls

I purchased two shawls this past weekend so I could continue to take advantage of the snow that was still accumulating. One was labelled 70% pashmina, 30% silk. It was had a nice shimmer and was soft. The other shawl was labelled 100% pashmina. At both locations I asked specifically if the fibre content was wool and was assured that it was.

Not wool scarves hand dyeing experiment dorislovadinalee.com


Both shawls were washed to remove any finish that might deter the dye from adhering to them. They were soaked in a vinegar, salt and water solution to prepare the wool for dyeing.

snow dyeing ice dyed pashmina scarves toronto ontario dorislovadinalee

One of the shawls was folded into thirds and wrapped around a PVC pipe, the other was rolled around a string. A combination of navy, turquoise and yellow dye powder was sprinkled on top of the snow.

shibori scarves in dye toronto ontario canada local dyer doris lovadina-lee

After the snow had melted, the shawls were steamed to set the dye. In the photo above they had just been removed from the steamer, the colours were vibrant!

snow dyed scarves pashmina washing synthropol doris lovadina-lee local hand dyer

The shawls were rinsed and washed with synthropol to remove all the excess dye.

hand dyed pashmina scarves hanging to dry basement doris lee toronto ontario

Here they are drying on the line after all of the dye was removed. I could see as soon as I began rinsing them out that there was a problem. In my experience pure wool absorbs dye beautifully resulting in deep, rich, strong colours. So, these two supposedly wool shawls don’t contain any wool at all!

Nui shibori snow dyed not wool scarf toronto ontario dorisleehand made pashmina not wool shibori scarf dyed with snow toronto ontario canada

This is the nui shibori shawl after its final wash. It’s a soft ethereal blue.

pleated arashi pashmina shibori hand dyed scarf not wool doris lee toronto artist
The arashi shibori shawl has a bit more colour, and the steaming has set the pleats! Although the colour differs quite dramatically from the shawls just out of the steamer, they are a still very pretty – an icy blue.

Arashi shibori blue snow dyeing not wool scarf doris lovadina-lee toronto ontario

Well, this experience has taught me that not all labels are accurate! The results are not the rich deep colours I personally favour but the finished shawls are still lovely. I am still looking for 100% pure wool scarves. I have a lead that I plan on pursuing. Hoping they arrive before all the snow is gone!

Slow stitching – book and sample

I’ve been spending a little time doing some hand work. I was inspired to go back to a project I started 2 years ago after reading: Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art by Claire Wellesley-Smith.

Wellesley-Smith, Claire. Slow Stitch: mindful and contemplative textile art. London: Batsford, c2015.
Wellesley-Smith, Claire. Slow Stitch: mindful and contemplative textile art. London: Batsford, c2015.

This book is beautifully illustrated with projects by Claire Wellesley-Smith, a textile artist working in Yorkshire, England. She blogs about her work at: http://www.clairewellesleysmith.co.uk/blog/

Running stitch with perle cotton on wool
Running stitch with perle cotton on wool

Slow Stitch discusses how the Slow Movement, originally the Slow Food Movement started by Carlo Petrini in Italy, relates to textiles. Examples of Claire’s work and those of :

are included in this beautifully photographed book. There is a lot of inspiration and also a few ideas for starting your own slow stitching projects.

Slow stitch art quilt
Slow stitch art quilt

The piece I am working on shown above started with an embroidery I began when I was a member of the Canadian  Embroiderers’ Guild Guelph. I made a few small pieces incorporating all the fun techniques we were taught. But, the samples languished in a cupboard until my mother suggested that I incorporate them into my quilting.

This embroidered and beaded quilt really is a slow project! I see that I blogged about this project first in December 2014 and then in 2015!

Island Sands
Island Sands

The piece I am currently working is a companion piece to Island Sands which was completed a few years ago.

Island Sands detail
Island Sands detail

I especially like the texture created on the silk noile – ripples left behind in the sand when the tide goes out.

Slow stitch supplies
Slow stitch supplies

I’ve collected up the threads, fabrics, and beads I may use and placed them all together in a plastic box. Hopefully this will keep me organized and on track to finally finish this very slow but satisfying stitching.


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